This Sunday we will celebrate Palm Sunday. Just before Jesus was betrayed, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane asking God to “take the cup from him”, knowing that he would be betrayed and then crucified.
According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, “In the Garden” was written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles, who served as an editor and manager at Hall-Mack publishers for 37 years. This song was first published in 1912 and popularized during the Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns of the early twentieth century by two members of his staff, Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher.
Since that time, this song has been recorded and sung by such artists as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Glen Campbell, as well as other recording artists throughout the years. The song is also included on Johnny Cash’s 5-CD box set “Cash Unearthed.”
According to Austin Miles’ great-granddaughter, the song was written “in a cold, dreary and leaky basement in Pitman, New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden.” I would imagine Austin Miles depicted and imagined a beautiful garden where he felt safe, peaceful, and loved by Jesus as he wrote this beautiful hymn.
When I think about a garden, I envision a place of peace and tranquility, where one can go to reflect and pray, and listen for the voice of God, and talk with him. In this beautifully acclaimed hymn, the first verse and chorus are as follows:
“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And he tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
In Matthew 26:36-56, the story is told that Jesus took his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane asking that his disciples stay “awake” while Jesus prayed. But each time Jesus returned to his disciples, He found them asleep. It is during these three times that Jesus tries to tell them that He is going to be betrayed. It wasn’t until Judas arrived with the soldiers that the disciples actually realized what Jesus was talking about. Luke 22:39-46 also recounts this story: Jesus’ betrayal and arrest.
Jesus must have felt “let down” by His disciples because the scripture tells us that Jesus even questioned them about why they could not stay awake for even one hour while He was alone praying.
How would we have reacted if we had the chance to actually be in the same situation? Would we have fallen asleep as well? For many of us, staying awake would have been very difficult.
Jesus wants us to walk, talk, and tarry with Him and He says, “Come to the garden where it is peaceful and you will find rest in me.”
May each of you find joy, peace, and rest in Him continually.